Customarily, we record eLearning scripts using voice over artists. After scripts are final, project coordinators approach audio recording studios and specify the voice type they need. They then select from the samples and decide on one or more voice over artists. The voice over artists record from the audio scripts that project teams provide. These scripts also contain instructions for where to pause or emphasize, and how to pronounce various key words. When the audio files arrive, the project teams review them to ensure compliance with the instructions. They also ensure the recordings are free of bloopers. Some of the files go back to the studio for a re-record.
Now for those of us who have crossed from the eLearning services sector to the product side, this will sound like the “older” method of recording audio. So, what’s new?
NEW! eLearning market places find voice over artists’ talent in SMEs
In recent times, with the advent and growth of eLearning market places, the concept of voice over artists lending their voice to courses has started to fade. These platforms contain hundreds of eLearning videos recorded in the Subject Matter Expert’s (SME) own voice. Pick up any course from these platforms and you will agree that the SME’s voice brings the personal connect. Using the SME’s voice over sounds like a perfect call, especially with easy access to audio recording technologies and shorter product development cycles.
NEW! Voice recording parameters have changed
Consequently, the parameters for judging audio quality have changed. The voice tone or timbre is not the first parameter that influences judgement. It has become more important to ensure that the SME’s voice is able to modulate itself, and is conversational and friendly enough. The emphasis is more on whether the overall delivery is impactful.
eLearning teams consider the “umms”, the “okays”, the “wells”, etc. as filler words. The pauses are accepted as bringing in realism. As long as they don’t become distracting, the filler words and the pauses are not considered detrimental for the product. There is even a tendency to ignore accents as long as SMEs command attention through the power of their knowledge. Many courses now have the option to keep the transcripts running, so accents are not a showstopper.
All said and done, technical quality of audio is non-negotiable!
All said and done, the technical quality of the audio remains a non-negotiable. Echoes, background noise, consistent low volume, and volume variations can spell doom for the product. This is irrespective of the SME being knowledgeable with good presence and delivery. Therefore, it becomes imperative to sensitize the SME on the various technical specifications of recording high quality audio. These include the:
- Optimal settings under which to record audio
- Choice of microphone
- Best practices to prepare the recording environment
Many eLearning companies still use voice over artists because there is a lot of comfort staying with tradition. Using professional voice over services also gives better control. At the same time, eLearning teams use SME voice overs too because experts drive the moolahs. Using SME voice overs is no longer an experiment but proven that it brings learner connect and engagement. Check out some of the free courses on the Udemy platform. Times have changed.